How do you wish to be remembered as a leader by those inside and outside your organization, and by those with whom you might work in the future?
When asked this question (how do you want to be remembered?), Frank Zappa replied, “I don’t. It’s not important.”
In the spirit of Frank, I say it’s perfectly fine that “Tim” will be forgotten. What’s important is for love, curiosity, and music to be remembered and lived deeply.
The pebble hits the water and disappears, while the ripples roll outward endlessly. These are the ripples I hope to help send rolling across the pond:
- DESIRE TO GROW. I nurture and celebrate my need to see more, and more, and more of the Big Truth.
- FAIRNESS. I set aside my preconceived notions, shut my mouth, and listen carefully.
- HONESTY. I acknowledge, straight up, the ways that I bring beauty and light into the world. And the ways that I don’t.
- OPENNESS. I open my heart. Again. And again.
- TRANSPARENCY. I openly display my motives, my gifts, my weaknesses, my truths.
- ACCOUNTABILITY. I refuse to dodge reality. I press my face against its glass, not worrying about smudges. I also call upon friends, colleagues, and fellow human beings to come face-to-face with whatever is actually going on in any given situation.
- SELFLESSNESS. I nurture the supreme joy of witnessing another person’s growth, realization, and transformation. I’m not trying to get anything from you. Rather, my joy comes from witnessing your reconnection with yourself. There’s nothing juicier than helping someone dream something into existence!
What have you learned in your work (and life) that you would most like to pass on—for example, lessons, what to do, how to approach challenges, outlook on life, and so on?
That in love, leadership, and life, The Jazz Ethic rules supreme: everything we need is already in the room. The tools available are perfect. The experience is truly unpredictable. The room available is perfect. The lighting is perfect. Let’s get to work.
Is there emotional discomfort? Then that’s what is present. Let’s take a look.
Is there joy? Then that’s what is present. Let’s take a look.
That people are more important than paperwork. (Even if the paperwork makes it possible to serve people.)
That it is WORTH IT to spend your life pursuing your passion and your artistic voice. If I write twenty books or record twenty albums only to find that no one cares for my art, I’ve lived a successful life through the pursuit of my own expression!
How will you convey this learning?
I’ll take a fearless attitude to entering new and unfamiliar opportunities. If The Jazz Ethic truly does rule the universe, then whatever I need is waiting for my arrival. If I’ve done my homework and show up as prepared as I know how to be, then I’m bound to learn something.
I’ll set aside the paperwork for the upcoming audit and invite the unexpected visitor back into my office. I’ll ask his name. I’ll find out how (not ‘if’) I can help him. And I’ll do my best to be helpful, remembering that ‘being nice’ and ‘being helpful’ are not necessarily the same thing.
And I’ll keep looking for ways to share my artistic expression with people, in the hopes that even if they don’t like my particular flavor of expression, maybe it will ignite them into exploring their own inner world of artistic creativity. Maybe it’ll inspire one person to express herself through art. Again… a life worth living.
What remains to be accomplished? Why is that important in building or completing your legacy?
More honesty. More stepping into discomfort. More humility. More calling ‘time out’ when my own need to complete paperwork prevents me from sitting down with a person who is looking for help. More accountability to myself and to my colleagues, as I move from sharing 20% of my talents, skills, and gifts toward sharing 100% of them.
These are critical to the development of my legacy because I’m not there yet.
Aside from more time, what will help or impede you in completing what remains to be accomplished?
Fear. (Instead, I choose LOVE.)
Doubt. (Instead, I choose CONFIDENCE.)
Uncertainty. (Instead, I choose FAITH.)
Lethargy. (Instead, I choose DYNAMIC LIFE.)
Acceptance of the status quo. (Instead, I choose SEARCHING FOR BETTER WAYS.)
Comfort. (Instead, I choose GROWTH.)
Laziness. (Instead, I choose PASSION.)
Ego. (Instead, I choose HUMILITY.)
How might completing this exercise affect what you will do on a day-to-day basis, in the next week, and in the next few months?
It’s already helping me to see more of my blind spots. Only when I see my blind spots can I address them. When I have friends and colleagues who love and trust me enough to help me come face-to-face with these blind spots, my life is a joyous journey filled with growth and transformation. When I’m able to take comfort in the discomfort, I’m a winner in the present moment. Again. And again.